Chinatown in Senegal

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Not my normal beat, but I found this Al Jazeera International segment on the Chinese presence in Senegal fascinating. Not least because the Chinese interviewed were candid and unguarded, leading to comments that would be considered politically incorrect in the west. Around the 7-minute mark, a young Chinese woman, surrounded by a Chinese posse in what seemed to be a karaoke bar, says offhandedly that "I am wondering why people here are so dark and the ocean is so blue." That's just an awkward and insensitive comment, but having had conversations with the average Chinese about race issues, this is hardly surprising (take a look at the story of Lou Jing and China's American Idol). 


Beyond the on-camera candor, the segment offers a great inside look at Chinese entrepreneurs making a living in Senegal. It's well worth the entire 23 minutes. 
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Damien Ma is a fellow at the Paulson Institute, where he focuses on investment and policy programs, and on the Institute's research and think-tank activities. Previously, he was a lead China analyst at Eurasia Group, a political risk research and advisory firm.

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